Updated: 25-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


December, 1980

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.


Reintegration of Greek forces - Warsaw Pact military build-up - National force contributions - Implementation of LTDP - Efforts to achieve 3% - Poland - Afghanistan - Rapid Deployment Force - Near-term defence measures - Military assistance to Greece, Portugal and Turkey - LRTNf modernization - Special Consultative Group on arms control - MBFR - NATO Infrastructure Programme - Transatlantic Dialogue - Eurogroup - Training programme in the United States.

  1. The Defence Planning Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 9th and 10th December, 1980. Ministers welcomed the presence of the Minister of Defence of Greece, recorded their great satisfaction at the reintegration, of Greek forces into the military structure of the Alliance, and looked forward to Greece taking part in Allied decisions on defence planning next year.

  2. Ministers reviewed NATO's defence policy against the background of the continuing and substantial growth in the Soviet Union's military power and offensive potential and its increasing ability to project these globally. They considered the effects of this on the situation in Europe, the Atlantic and elsewhere, particularly in the South West Asia area.

  3. A comprehensive review of the threat facing NATO and the ability to respond effectively to it was given in special briefings by the Chairman of the Military Committee and the three Major NATO Commanders.

  4. Ministers noted that in spite of the slowdown in economic growth and increasing difficulties in the energy sector, Soviet defence expenditure still amounted to 11-13% of its GDP and was growing annually at 4-5% in real terms. It continued to receive top priority despite the needs of the civil economy. In the past year, the Soviet nuclear and conventional posture has been enhanced markedly by continuing deployments of many sophisticated systems. These developments cover the strategic nuclear field; the theatre nuclear field, with the ongoing deployment of SS-20, at a rate of approximately one new missile with 3 warheads every week, and with a continuing production of the Backfire; and all aspects of conventional forces at sea, on land and in the air. No abatement of these programmes was foreseen in future years. Ministers expressed concern over the implications of this unabated growth of Warsaw Pact capability for the balance of forces between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

  5. Against the background described above, Ministers reviewed national force contributions to Alliance defence for the current year, and national plans for achieving the force goals adopted by the Alliance earlier this year. They noted that the comprehensive national defence programmes responding to the 1981-1986 force goals will provide significant improvements in the overall deterrent and defence posture of the Alliance and hence contribute to the preservation of peace. These would cover a wide spectrum of equipment for the land, sea and air forces of NATO including the introduction of advanced ships, aircraft, tanks and artillery. In addition, improvements could be expected in the training and readiness of units and in reinforcement planning and logistics support.

  6. Within this force planning process, Ministers welcomed progress on the implementation of the Long-Term Defence Programme, and the fact that it was now well set to achieve its broad aims of enabling NATO forces to meet the changing defence needs of the 1980s and beyond. They noted that progress had been achieved and would continue in the Readiness, Maritime and Communications, Command and Control programmes. They also noted that the first phase of the Air Defence programme which was endorsed in December 1979 was now making good progress. These represent a significant enhancement of Alliance capability. They pledged their support for sustained efforts, particularly in the fields of Electronic Warfare and Consumer Logistics.

  7. Nevertheless, Ministers concluded that the rate at which improvements were being made was not commensurate with the sustained growth in the Soviet and other Warsaw Pact forces. They acknowledged that if deficiencies in the Alliance's defence posture were allowed to persist, this could lead to a most serious deterioration in NATO's deterrent posture. They noted therefore that continued and increased efforts would be needed to maintain the necessary capabilities for deterrence and defence. An increase of 3% in annual defence expenditure by all countries would substantially assist in redressing the balance of forces but it would remain to be seen, in the light of the developing situation, whether this would be sufficient to meet the established defence objectives of the Alliance. With these considerations in mind, Ministers accepted, on behalf of their countries, the firm force commitments represented by the country force plans for 1981 and adopted the NATO Force Plan for 1981-1985. They reaffirmed the importance of member countries achieving and sustaining the aim, endorsed by Heads of State and Government, of increases in annual defence expenditures in real terms in the region of 3%.

  8. Ministers voiced deep concern with the situation relating to Poland and agreed that any military intervention would pose a serious threat to security and stability with profound implications for all facets of the East-West relationship.

  9. Ministers reiterated their condemnation, expressed at their meeting in May, of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and of their use of force in a way which continues seriously to affect the overall strategic situation and to jeopardise international peace and stability. They acknowledged that this use of force in pursuit of political aims had demonstrated that events outside NATO boundaries can bear directly on the security of all member countries. In particular, these developments have brought more sharply into focus the strategic importance of the Mediterranean area. Solidarity and the strengthening of Allied cohesion in response to this new challenge were therefore more necessary than ever.

  10. Ministers acknowledged the benefits for the protection of essential interests of all member nations of the actions being taken in the political and economic fields by many member states designed to improve stability in the South West Asia area, and of the actions taken by the United States and others to deploy forces in the Indian Ocean and Gulf areas. They also noted the importance of transit facilities being available.

  11. Ministers also took note of the United States contingency plans for deployment of its Rapid Deployment Force to the South West Asia area. They agreed that it would be essential to prepare against the eventuality of a diversion of NATO-allocated forces the United States and other countries might be compelled to make in order to safeguard the vital interests of member nations outside the North Atlantic Treaty area. In discussing the effects this would, in certain circumstances, have on NATO plans for the reinforcement of the European theatre, Ministers of nations concerned affirmed the intention of their countries to provide host nation support to facilitate the reception and employment of reinforcement forces. Ministers recognized that the developing situation would entail a suitable division of labour within NATO.

  12. Ministers then reviewed progress on the initiatives taken by them earlier this year aimed at increasing Allied security in the light of the situation created by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, noted the positive response to the near-term defence measures agreed in May and adopted further specific measures in selected fields. In the light of the above, Ministers expressed their support for the further strengthening of the defence posture of the Southern flank and Portugal. They agreed that this should be a continuing process. The reintegration of Greek forces is also an important contribution towards this strengthening of the Southern flank.

  13. Ministers acknowledged the interdependence of Allied security and in particular the urgent need for an intensification of assistance to member countries suffering from severe economic difficulties. They noted a report covering military assistance already provided to Portugal and Turkey including the sizeable United States' security assistance programmes, the substantial special armaments aid programme, fully funded by Germany as an addition to her regular aid programme to Turkey, and the provision of aircraft by the Netherlands to the same country. They also noted with satisfaction the decision of the Portuguese Government to proceed with the construction of three modified Kortenaer class Frigates with national funds and Alliance assistance. They recognized that this project had now entered the implementation phase and expressed their full support for the actions taken by the Portuguese Government, including bilateral negotiations, aimed at determining the contribution each member nation was prepared to give to the project. Ministers agreed that more needed to be done to assist these countries in order to enable them to meet the minimum requirements as set out in the 1981-1986 force goals and to play their full part in collective Alliance defence. In this respect, the needs of Greece would need to be taken into account in future.

  14. Ministers agreed on the necessity to consider ways of helping the less industrialized members of the Alliance by the transfer of technology and by the establishment of co-production projects. Bearing in mind the need to strengthen the industrial base for the production of conventional equipment, they expressed their appreciation of the leasing by the United States of military industrial equipment to Turkey.

  15. Ministers reviewed progress in implementation of the 12th December 1979 decision on long-range theatre nuclear Forces (LRTNF) modernization and arms control involving theatre nuclear forces. They re-emphasized the importance of the parallel and complementary character of the modernization programme and the arms control approach. They noted that the Pershing II and ground-launched cruise missile programmes are proceeding on schedule, with a view to introduction of the first systems by the end of 1983. They also noted in this context that the withdrawal of 1,000 United States nuclear warheads from Europe as an integral part of the 12th December 1979 decision has been completed.

  16. Reviewing a progress report on the work of the Special Consultative Group, Ministers welcomed the fact that a first round of United States - Soviet talks on arms control involving long-range theatre nuclear forces has taken place in Geneva, and reaffirmed their support for the United States' negotiating approach. A date for resumption of these talks next year would be set through mutual consultations. They also reaffirmed their view that the LRTNF modernization programme is needed to meet NATO defence and deterrent needs and to provide the foundation for the pursuit of serious arms control negotiations which, if successful, could enhance Alliance security and modify the scale of NATO TNF modernization requirements.

  17. Ministers noted a status report on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions and affirmed their support for the Allied proposal of a Phase I interim agreement based on agreed data, involving United States and Soviet reductions and associated measures.

  18. Ministers considered reports by the Military and Infrastructure Committees on detailed statements of operational requirements for Infrastructure submitted by the Major NATO Commanders and instructed the Infrastructure Committee to continue its efforts to develop the financial implications of the requests by the Major NATO Commanders. They agreed to discuss this subject further at their Spring 1981 meeting.

  19. Ministers noted with satisfaction progress achieved in equipment planning and projects. They also welcomed progress under the Transatlantic Dialogue in both dual production projects and families of weapons, noting in particular the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States on air-to-air missiles. They strongly endorsed the need for continued Ministerial support for a broad range of CNAD arms co-operation. They reaffirmed that the need to safeguard the military advantages to NATO of advanced technologies would continue to require close attention being given to decisions involving the transfer of such technologies to the Soviet Union.

  20. Ministers noted with satisfaction a statement by Dr. Hans Apel, the Minister of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, Chairman of the Eurogroup, outlining the collaborative work being undertaken by the Eurogroup in order to ensure that the resources available for defence were used to the best effect. They took note in particular of a number of multinational projects established in the field of co-operative training.

  21. The Ministers of twelve countries signed a Memorandum. of Understanding establishing a co-operative, cost-sharing training programme in the United States for the training of jet pilots and instructor pilots beginning in October 1981. The effectiveness and readiness of NATO air forces will be improved through the benefits of enhanced interoperability, standardized tactics and techniques, and economies of large scale training.

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